Flatbeds And Step Decks Trailers Difference

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There are several trailers available on the market. But each trailer has its specific use. When you talk about the transportation of goods, you have many options. But when it comes to the shipping of large and oversized goods, some particular trailers are required for it. 

There will be certain situations when you have to transport oversized cargo. What will you do at that time? This is where flatbeds and step decks jump into the market. Flatbeds and step decks are different from each other and have their own importance. Primarily, their height capabilities differentiate between flatbeds and step deck trailers. 

However, you might not be familiar with the differences between flatbeds and step deck trailers. The question in this situation is, which is the most advantageous and reasonable method for transporting over-dimensional freight? Read on to learn how to choose the best trailer for your needs if you intend to rent or buy a trailer to transport large loads. Let’s examine these two freight shipping industry heroes in more detail.

What Is a step deck trailer?

A step deck trailer is also referred to as a lowboy trailer or drop deck trailer. These kinds of trailers are used to transport freight that is too big or tall to fit on standard trailers. When drivers transport over-dimensional cargo with the use of step deck trailers, they do not require a special permit. As such, these trailers are constructed for such purposes.

There are two decks on a step-deck trailer: a lower deck and an upper deck. To make it simpler to load and unload equipment, many step deck trailers also have ramp capabilities. Forklifts can access the cargo with ease due to their shorter height and close proximity to the ground. Depending on the type of freight and the loading/unloading requirements, options include fixed-neck, gooseneck, and removable gooseneck (RGN). In comparison to fixed-neck trailers, which can only be loaded from the front, RGNs offer a wider range of options for loading and unloading.

What Are Flatbed Trailers Used For?

Flatbed trailers are frequently used to transport heavy, wide, or awkwardly shaped items that require a crane or a forklift to load from the side. In light of this, flatbeds are excellent for transporting building supplies, machinery, tools, components, and equipment. Stackable or well-wrapped goods are frequently transported in large quantities on flatbed trailers in addition to large single items.

The maximum weight of the load carried cannot exceed 48,000 pounds, despite the fact that the majority of flatbed trailers have lengths between 48 and 53 feet. Additionally, 8 feet 6 inches is the maximum standard width and height for cargo on a flatbed trailer. Any vehicle that is wider than 8′ 6″ would be classified as a wide load, and if it is wide enough, it might even be considered a heavy haul, necessitating the use of an escort vehicle. 

However, what if your desired cargo is taller than 8’6″? It would be necessary to use a specialized trailer called a step deck trailer to exceed the maximum height.

Flatbed Trailer Vs. Step Deck Trailer

The maximum permitted height is the primary distinction between flatbed and step deck trucking transportation. Due to its lowered deck, a step deck allows you to transport slightly taller cargo.

The two different trailer types offer flexibility. Both trailers’ open design makes it relatively simple to load and unload cargo and other items.

Both flatbed and step deck trailers are subject to the same length and weight restrictions, but step deck trailers allow you to haul cargo that is taller. You won’t need special permissions or an escorted vehicle if you do this.

When deciding between a step deck and a flatbed trailer, the most important question to ask yourself is what kind of cargo you’ll be moving. A conventional flatbed trailer will meet your needs if you anticipate that the freight will typically be shorter. The best option for you will be a step deck trailer if your freight is taller than 8′ 6″.

When deciding whether to use a flatbed or step deck trailer, keep the following things in mind:

  • Freight cannot be taller than 8 feet 6 inches since a typical flatbed trailer is 5 feet off the ground.
  • Since step deck trailers typically have lower deck heights of 3 feet 6 inches, the maximum size of the freight cannot be greater than 10 feet.
  • Step deck trailers typically have an upper deck that is 11 feet long and a lower deck that is 37 feet long, which equals the general legal maximum length of 48 feet.
  • Due to the fact that step deck trailers typically weigh more than flatbed trailers, the freight weight must be carefully calculated to stay under the 80,000-pound limit.

HD Drayage & Container Services, LLC. has trailer rental locations with knowledgeable staff ready to assist you, whether you need a flatbed or step deck trailer. Our extensive range of drop deck trailers for sale and rental, as well as our wide range of commercial trailers and service offerings, make us the go-to place for all of your trailer requirements.

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